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Old 01-04-2011, 05:24   #1
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When is Near Enough Good Enough?

Even typing those words seems vaguely sacrilegious, Absolute Preparation is the Key, and so forth. I've been doing a complete refurb my recently purchased 1975 yacht, and I've found, while the prep is so very important (before painting, replacing hardware, etc), there is certainly a trend of diminishing returns. Eg, I have 97.5% of the interior paint removed (some horrible, flaky water-based-over-enamel paint the previous owner used). The first 80% was relatively easy and took 6 hrs, the next 10% was a bit tricky and took 6 hrs, the next 5% was very difficult and took 6 hrs.. and so on. Zeno's paradox. Ideally you'd remove every flake of the stuff, but in practice how long do you work at it (time never not being a factor) before you say "near enough good enough"? This not only applies to my currently internal painting job, but any major refurb job - another example is spot filling/sanding the outer hull before topcoat.
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:28   #2
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Re: When is near enough good enough?

"Zeno's Paradox"

In the high school gym, all the girls in the class were lined up against one wall, and all the boys against the opposite wall.
Then, every ten seconds, they walked toward each other until they were half the previous distance apart.
A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were asked, "When will the girls and boys meet?"
The mathematician said: "Never."
The physicist said: "In an infinite amount of time."
The engineer said: "Well... in about two minutes, they'll be close enough for all practical purposes."
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:44   #3
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Re: When is near enough good enough?

Geomic, I hear were you are coming from. To make matters worse you just know that if you stop at 97% then you will always notice the 3% that isn't quite right. No one else will, just you.

But, we have all seen boats being refitted for years that never seem to get closer to launch day. Worse owners give up or circumstances change, so I'm for the best job I can do in the time available and some I go back to later with a second idea.

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Old 01-04-2011, 05:57   #4
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Re: When is near enough good enough?

In matters of paint, use the 4 foot rule. If someone (other than you!) can't really tell the difference from 4 feet, it's good enough.

FWIW...
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:25   #5
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

Console yourself that if you ever go cruising, it'll be hard to find four feet in a straight line that doesn't hit provisions, spares or foulies.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:41   #6
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

Great question. It all depends on what makes you happy. If you are happy stressing out over minutia, then go for it. Make it perfect. It's the perfection that makes you happy as much as the idea of sailing. If you are happy only when you have the sails up, then get her in good shape and go. If you're worried about what others say, take the "happy" out of both of the above.
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Old 01-04-2011, 14:59   #7
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

I have to agree with smurphy. It is a very personal choice. If not doing the 100% is going to bug you later you know the answer. Many people might be happy with 50%. It has to do with what makes you happy. Reach your happy point that you can rationalize, what ever that maybe.
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Old 01-04-2011, 15:04   #8
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

sometimes you must make sure the quest for perfection does not strangle the need for progress....
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Old 01-04-2011, 15:11   #9
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

A lot of teak is a pefect example of choices.
Before going cruising, 7 coats is mandatory. After you've been out there for six years you start thinking that bare wood is good enough.
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Old 01-04-2011, 15:45   #10
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

When you cannot tell the difference between the restored one and a new build then the restoration project may have been worth the effort.

I found it with wood that 9/10 making a new one is the better way - less sweat, less cost, higher satisfaction.

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Old 01-04-2011, 15:48   #11
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

Quote:
In matters of paint, use the 4 foot rule. If someone (other than you!) can't really tell the difference from 4 feet, it's good enough.
Ha! We've always operated on the 10-foot rule. Seriously, it is a matter of personal taste. I am often amazed by what people consider unacceptable, and I hate to hear what they're saying about me, but at least they are apparently doing it behind my back, and I thank them for that.
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Old 01-04-2011, 15:56   #12
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

I set out wanting to make a perfect job, but once ive spent a certain length of time, I get twitchy and know ive allocated a reasonable amount of time. If its still not good enough, I get even more twitchy and want to move on.

Its all down to how YOU feel about it. Ironically, a stranger wouldnt notice and the only reason you can notice is because you know its there. If you didnt know, you wouldnt know.
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Old 01-04-2011, 16:07   #13
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

Pretty much agree with all the above. I was brought up under the old "if you don't have time to do it right, where will you find the time to do it over".

I'm doing a bunch of restoration on my boat and finally came to the conclusion that if I kept at it until it was perfect, the next time the boat would leave the slip would be to deliver my urn of ashes. Now I correct minor imperfections along the way, if I have the chance, but otherwise move on. For example, I re-gelcoated a portion of the coach. While sanding it out, I noticed a small area where the gelcoat was a bit thin. I doubt anyone would notice unless they were kneeling there staring at it, but I do. Next time I'm spraying gelcoat I'll give it another coat or two but if I spray no more, I'll leave it alone. Maybe sometime in the future I'll re-visit and touch up. For the moment I am satisfied that the boat is starting to look better than when I bought it 12 years ago and a whole lot better than some others at the dock. Don't tell anyone there because they consider me the perfectionist instead of the semi-perfectionist.

It sounds like you are already going an order of magnitude beyond what most people do. My neighbor repainted his deck in an afternoon, prep consisted of a rag of mineral spirits, no masking, and applying the paint with a disposable nylon chip brush. What the hey. I think its sloppy but he's happy and after all, it's his boat.

Rich

Oh, also. As to the stand back 4 ft or 10 ft, the above posters forgot to add the other requirement "squint".
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Old 01-04-2011, 17:05   #14
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Re: When is Near Enough Good Enough?

I think this falls under the 'Screw this, I'm going sailing rule.' when you get to the 80% point, you check your calendar and see when the next rainy season will be [I know, you guys don't get enough rain down there to wet the decks]. Do it then.
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Old 02-04-2011, 00:17   #15
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Re: The ten foot rule.

I'm sometimes unfortunate enough to get echos of what's being said about me behind my back.

However I console myself with the thought that I might, just might, go cruising with my first mate in a large comfortable boat, while those that think that what I'm doing isn't good enough won't.
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